We help women experiencing disadvantage get into work and keep it.
We offer employment services which help women build their skills and develop their confidence in order to achieve meaningful work.
This is made possible through philanthropic support, the generous donation of high-quality second-hand clothing and the support of our skilled and caring volunteers. Clients are referred to us by community partners and are booked into our services in Melbourne, VIC and Parramatta, NSW.
We also provide leadership and advocacy so that our clients and thousands of women like them have a voice. We use our knowledge and experience to inform and change government policy. We strive to inform perceptions around how women come to be faced with adverse conditions and the impact it has on them, their family and the wider community.
Increase the participation of women experiencing disadvantage in work.
Being 100% client focused, our team works tireless at all times to develop and implement evidence based, quality, responsive and targeted programs that assist women experiencing disadvantage into employment.
We actively advocate on behalf, and with, women experiencing disadvantage to improve their their access to sustainable employment.
Our team is committed to ensuring that we have the resources to continue to provide our services for free and to be agile in meeting the changing needs of our clients.
We continue to ensure that all our social enterprises – She Works, Dear Gladys and The Conscious Closet – continue to be relevant and true to our core mission. Revenue generated from these entities is invested into the service.
We see women from all walks of life but, broadly, we can place them into six key categories. Because of the complex nature of life, some women’s experience will overlap into two or more categories.
Women from any age and any background can find themselves exposed to violence. Many women who make contact with Fitted for Work are on the first steps to leaving an abusive relationship. Sometimes feeling overwhelmed after years of abuse, a woman can feel particularly fragile as she tries to figure out how to take care of herself (and her children). Low self-esteem is common but, with the support of a service like Fitted for Work, so is a sense of renewed hope and optimism. For a woman actively looking for work, a job can mean never having to go back to a life of abuse.
When you’re a single mother, it’s rare that you can put yourself first. Your children’s basic needs are paramount. Every day you must find a way to put food on the table and a roof over their heads. Many single mums struggle to find suitable work that offers a good wage, the flexibility to respond to their children’s needs and career advancement opportunities. Single mums accessing Fitted for Work services are often struggling financially and unable to pay for the basics.
A woman with a disability is often very aware of her capabilities and ability to contribute to the workplace. Sadly, society is not always able to see past her disability and finding someone willing to give her a chance is a huge challenge. She has a lot of work experience but very little of it is paid. All too often, she has completed a number of tertiary qualifications but they haven’t led to an employment. Knowing that her chances of getting a job is low, it is not uncommon for a woman with a disability to find being involved with Fitted for Work a reason to get up in the morning.
These days a mature aged woman is considered 45+. A woman coming to Fitted for Work may have little to no superannuation. Typically, she is newly single/separated/divorced and needs to become financially independent in order to support herself. She may feel her skills are outdated and overwhelmed about re-entering workforce. Or maybe she’s never worked because she’s been the primary caregiver for her children. By the time she comes to Fitted for Work, she has learned that her age is a barrier to being successful in interviews leaving her feeling undervalued by society.
Young people are doing it tough in the job market today. At Fitted for Work, we see women under 25 years of age and struggling to find full-time work, despite gaining some work experience in casual jobs. She may be qualified but not able to find work her chosen field. She is possibly facing homelessness and sometimes has difficult relationships with her family. By the time she accesses our services, she may feel disconnected from society, and overwhelmed at the job-seeking task. She can present as pessimistic but, in our experience, this is a defence mechanism. She is struggling to be individual and yet fit-in. Fitted for Work helps her to understand the expectations of the workforce.
Typically, she is new to Australia. English is not her first language. She may or may not have a recognised qualification. She has no professional networks to help her find work and may have to embark on further study in order to secure an interview. If she is partnered, they may be her only support. She can feel very isolated without a personal network to fall back on.
For many women the first step to getting work is simply having a suitable outfit to wear to interviews. When a woman is referred to Fitted for Work, her first experience may be our personal outfitting and interview service. She may feel a little nervous and unsure what to expect. She will be made to feel instantly welcomed and accepted by our Boutique volunteers.
In just one hour, she will be transformed from head to toe with a new suit, shirt, accessories, handbag and shoes to match. The volunteers will provide advice on grooming and health and how to prepare for the job interview so she can put her best foot forward to get the job.
Each woman may be offered access to a number of our other services. She can choose from presentation workshops, where she can learn from a range of tutorials how to apply work-appropriate make-up, improve personal grooming and overall presentation skills. She may then want to drop into our Resume Hub and get assistance with her resume, cover letter and interview skills.
We will invite her to participate in our WomanKind program. This is pre-employment program inspires, guides and supports each woman to build her confidence through mentoring and woman to woman training. She can also take part in work place familiarisation and skill development days.
Once she feels ‘work ready’, the woman may be interested in applying for a role with one of our corporate partners through our social enterprise, SheWorks. SheWorks provides pre and post placement support services that link women directly with employers. All profits from She Works help us fund and scale Fitted for Work’s programs.
Finally, once in work, the woman may want to participate in our Staying Employed Program. She can focus on strengthen practical skills, attend group workshops and receive mentor support for up to 12 months.
Often, the women we help are interested in ‘giving back’. We often have women returning to Fitted for Work as volunteers, or speaking formally about the organisation. We do not expect this but reciprocate their gratitude.
Since starting with Yarra Trams, and thus having a regular income, life is definitely getting more and more happy
“There is no development strategy more beneficial to society as a whole - women and men alike - than the one which involves women as central players.”
- Kofi Annan